Certified nurses’ assistants have many opportunities to hone their skills, stay up to date, and learn about new developments. Several courses are available, and new ones are being developed all the time. Last year the Journal for Continuing Education in Nursing published the results of a study conducted at Towson University in Maryland. A day-long training program for working nurses’ assistants was provided, and the participants demonstrated measurably increased knowledge at the end of the day. The students expressed an interest in learning more, and the authors concluded that advanced education could improve both patient care and job satisfaction.
A Week to Honor Certified Nursing Assistants: According to Genevieve Gipson, RN, RNC, Director of the National Network of Career Nursing Assistants, the 34th Annual National Nursing Assistants Week will take place 16-23 June, 2011. The theme is entitled “Nursing AssistantsNew Roles, New Goals,” and courses are being offered in keeping with the theme. Subjects include leadership skills, orientation of new certified nursing assistants, critical thinking in the performance of care and retaining nursing assistants. Ms Gipson can be reached for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medication Aides: As of 2010, thirty-two states had programs allowed certified nurses’ aides to administer routine medications to competent individuals and to assist caregivers and licensed nurses in administering medications. Courses are available to train medication aides. In Nebraska certified nurses’ assistants must pass a 40-hour course to become medication aides. The state of Texas specifies a curriculum that nurses’ aides must complete to be allowed to assist in administering medications under the supervision of a licensed nurse. In North Carolina aides must complete 24 hours of training and pass a test to become medication aides. Virginia specifies a 68-hour course before nurses’ aides are allowed to sit for the medication aide test. Several community colleges offer the course. Check your state for the rules regarding becoming a medication aide.
More Specialties: Some advanced nurses’ assistant courses prepare aides to go on to perform in more specialized roles, such as EKG technician, obstetrical technician, or surgery technician. Other specialty training includes courses in mentoring, or serving as a role model for other nurses’ assistants, Alzheimer’s care, geriatric nursing, home health care and rehabilitation.
Centers for Advanced Training: Good Samaritan Centers offer an apprentice program with opportunities for advanced and specialty training. The Virginia State Board of Nursing created a program that is open to certified nurses’ assistants with at least three years of experience and the recommendation of their nursing supervisors. Thirty-seven institutions throughout the state offer the program. The state of Delaware has a similar program that leads to the title Senior Certified Nurses’ Assistant. Each state has its own kind of opportunities, so check what is available with the State Board of Nursing where you work.